Confusing day in court aslawyers spar over witnesses

By Nikki Namdar
Special to Valencia Voice

Court ended two hours after it began Monday in the State v. Casey Anthony trial, with the jury never setting foot in the Orange County courtroom.

Assistant State Attorney Jeff Ashton requested defense’s first witness, William Rodriguez, postpone his testimony to a later time. Rodriguez gave his deposition on Saturday afternoon, leaving Ashton too little time to prepare cross examination.

Defense attorney Jose Baez objected to Ashton’s request, stating he “ignored the responsibilities of a prosecutor.”

Chief Judge Belvin Perry Jr. said that the prosecution and counsel were wasting time. The judge created a new policy that requires such matters to be discussed at 8:30 a.m., allowing the trial to begin at its normal hour. He also suggested that Saturdays transition to full days.

The judge ordered that the defense must provide written report to the state with all expressed opinions and grounds explaining the basis of those thoughts.

“Orders are quite clear to me,” said Perry. “This court doesn’t make threats; this court simply applies rules.”

“There’s been gamesmanship and it’s quite evident there is friction between the attorneys,” Perry continued. “That is something I guess the Florida Bar will have to deal with. And at the conclusion of this trial, this court will deal with the violations.” The penalty for such violations is exclusion.

Perry granted the prosecution’s request to defer testimony.

Baez informed the chief judge that the counsel’s witness would not be ready for up to an hour, which allowed for a brief recess. Baez did not return at the appointed time, and attorneys made several trips in and out of the chambers. Perry returned and stated that the court would be in recess until the following morning, providing no explanation.
The court released a motion to quash subpoena, as well as an amendment barring the release of the seated juror’s names.

The motion to quash was filed by Vasco Thompson, the individual Casey’s father, George Anthony made several phone calls to in July 2008. He filed the motion to prevent himself from being a witness in the defense’s case, a testimony which was set for June 21.

In Thompson’s motion, he claims he has no personal knowledge of facts relating to the disappearance of Caylee Marie Anthony, nor does he have any affiliation with the Anthony family.

He believes the reason for for his inclusion in Anthony’s case is a “misguided attempt to draw attention and publicity to an already publicized matter,” and to “create confusion to the evidence and a ploy to create an illusion of unreasonable doubt,” according to the document.

Thompson refers to this as “bad faith” by the defendant and requests no further contact from the defense counsel.

The amendment to bar the juror’s names was also filed, over a month after the original was filed on May 13, 2011.